SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1963

Effects of the Ascent Environment on Spacecraft Thermal Control Surfaces


A résumé of the ascent environment of a spacecraft is presented, and a program to test the effects of that environment on candidate thermal control surfaces is outlined. Routine tests employ radiant heating in a reduced pressure environment. The apparatus and test criteria are described. Results of tests on materials considered for use on Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. (LMSC) spacecraft are presented. Criteria for material behavior are: the resultant alteration in emittance, solar absorptance, and mechanical stability. Failure modes are discussed. Conclusions are drawn regarding the behavior of various classes of materials in the ascent environment. The white solar reflector surfaces are most susceptible to damage. The best black paint surface tested performed adequately at temperatures in excess of 1000 F; the best white paint failed at temperatures above 700 F.

Author Information

Schmidt, W., F.
Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Sunnyvale, Calif.
Haslim, L., A.
Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Sunnyvale, Calif.
McKellar, L., A.
Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Sunnyvale, Calif.
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Developed by Committee: F07
Pages: 40–51
DOI: 10.1520/STP45094S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5988-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6142-9